Cleaning up the street takes time

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Great news from the capital. Housing New Zealand has won a second court battle to evict families with gang links.

On second thoughts, it’s mixed news.

Winning the legal battle – and strengthening Housing NZ’s right to get rid of troublesome tenants quickly – is one thing.

Throwing out troublesome tenants is another.

Especially when the buggers can find the money to keep the legal fight going.

The Dom-Post reports –

But the group of women who live in Farmer Cres in Pomare, the Hutt Valley, are still refusing to budge.

The newspaper traces the shabby history of this saga.

In March, five women who have partners in the Mongrel Mob were the first in the country to be issued 90-day eviction notices after a woman moved out of her state house, saying she had been terrorised by gang members.

Armed police later raided houses in the street, arresting more than 10 people.

Three of the women in Farmer Cres had since lost their battle in the Tenancy Tribunal and yesterday they had a legal aid-funded appeal against eviction thrown out in Lower Hutt District Court.

Two of the original group of five women have left the street.

Lesley McTurk, the boss at Housing NZ, said his agency is taking a tougher stance on “severe antisocial behaviour” to protect the community.

The eviction notices sidestepped the tribunal, where cases often failed because witnesses were too intimidated to testify.

More than 28 eviction notices had been issued since March, many for antisocial behaviour.

“[The court ruling] confirms our right to issue the 90-day notices without having them challenged. It’s not helpful for the tenant to challenge them if they are ultimately going to be dismissed,” Dr McTurk said.

“We’ve got this power as a landlord and we are using it. At the end of the line we need to have a consequence if families choose not to change their behaviour.”

Housing NZ will push on with evicting the three women in Farmer Cres and will refer the matter to court bailiffs and the police.

The prospect of a forcible removal is on the cards.

More costly and time-consuming legal action is on the cards, too, because

…the affected tenants are looking at taking further legal action of their own.

One woman, Billy Taylor, had five children with her Mongrel Mob partner Micki Rangi and neither was willing to leave.

“We’re just going through the stages. The way I’m looking at it, this is going to take time. They’re kicking us out because they believe they can kick us out. We want to be in this house for Christmas,” Mr Rangi said.

He and Ms Taylor would speak to their lawyer, Liz Hall, later this week to discuss the possibility of an appeal to the High Court.

Gobbling up public money from the legal aid fund, no doubt.

Another woman facing eviction, mother-of-six Huia Tamaka, is bleating about her family’s future.

“My Mongrel Mob partner is no longer living with me here. He is at another address,” she said.

“What have the kids done? Do they deserve this? It sounds like all [they] want to do is get rid of us. We have nowhere to go. Where does that leave my family?”

Pity she didn’t think of the kids – and take appropriate action to look after them – when she first sniffed the whiff of trouble in the neighbourhood.

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